atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2818: "This planet was almost a star!"

As technology improves we find new things. "Ultracool brown dwarves" are gas giants, planets that were almost stars.

Years ago there was a pretty bad SF series on TV called Space: Above and Beyond. It was a story about a group of pilots in a space war against some alien race, but they spent most of their combat time doing things other than flying. You know, because fighter pilots are a dime a dozen and sometimes you just need more ground-pounders than you have, right?

One such episode--I saw the first five minutes--took place on a huge planet that was so big "it was almost a star". Off went the TV.

Okay, first--supermassive planets are gas giants. Jupiter, for example, may have a rocky core, but it's under so much gas that the surface may as well not exist. That core (if it's there) is surrounded by metallic hydrogen; do you know what kind of pressure hydrogen has to be under to assume its metallic state?

3,500,000 PSI. That's only 1,750 TONS per square inch.

You're not going to be doing much walking on that planet's surface. But wait! The Wikipedia article I linked to there says that if there's lithium involved, it might be 75% lower! So that means you'll only be walking around in a pressure of

875,000 PSI, or 437 tons per square inch!

Point being? This is just the transition point of hydrogen (or a lithium-hydrogen alloy) to a metallic state; it's not the surface pressure at whatever rocky core Jupiter might have. And Jupiter was not almost a star.

If you want a planet which was "almost a star" you need to find a super-jovian planet, something bigger than Jupiter.

Okay--so let's just say that you've got some killer space suit that protects you from all that pressure. (This is TV we're talking about, after all.)

The other problem you're going to have is gravity.

Jupiter--which was not almost a star--has a gravitational pull of about 80 m/s/s. (Compared to Earth's, which is not-quite 10 m/s/s. 9.8, to be precise.) So if you weigh 200 pounds on Earth, and if you're standing on a platform somewhere in Jupiter's atmosphere, on that platform you weigh some 1,600 pounds.

A superjovian world which was "almost a star" could reasonably be expected to have a gravitational pull of 18, 20 gravities. You can't even breathe when subjected to that kind of continuous gravitation. (People have survived impulses much higher, yes. Certain exceptional individuals can take 20 gravities for a time measured in minutes, but notice that all they do is lie there. They don't walk, talk, run, carry firearms, or have shootouts with aliens.)

The "planet which was almost a star" was portrayed as being dark and cold on its surface. "Dark" is right--under that much atmosphere--but cold is wrong. The observed temperature--the temperature at the surface--of these superjovian worlds is on the order of 440°F. At the core, the temperature will naturally be higher.

...see why I turned off the show in disgust? That was the last time I tried to watch Space: Above and Beyond.

* * *

Jane Fonda is trying her hand at revising history. "I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us."

Yeah, that whole thing where she posed with an North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, that was Photoshopped, man. In 1972, before the invention of the personal computer. Yeah. It was Photoshopped on a VAX-11 or something.

"I do not understand what the far right stands to gain by continuing with these myths." Lady--and I use the term loosely--in another era, you would have been clapped in irons the instant you got off the airplane from Vietnam. Far from it being a "myth", there's photographic evidence of you providing aid and comfort to an enemey in time of war. That used to be a shooting offense.

* * *

Because criminals don't have access to cars or public transportation, this will work brilliantly. Emplacing a tax of $1 per bullet is meant to "increase the cost of committing crime".

This is genius! Who would have thought of this? Now all they'll have to do is build a wall with a moat and minefield around Baltimore, patrolled by dogs and armed guards authorized to shoot anyone trying to enter or leave without authorization. Oh, and they'll just have to inspect every single car, truck, bicycle, package, parcel, container, box, bag, purse, pocket, and body cavity which enters or leaves Baltimore.

Huh? Well, I mean, how else are you going to keep people from just going outside the city to buy bullets, in order to avoid the tax?


...this tower of intellect realizes, "Increasing the cost of guns won't work, because many criminals don't purchase new guns, and they can be borrowed or even rented in some areas." But of course those same criminals will go to a local gun store to buy bullets, right? They won't just steal them or anything.

(And who, by the way, leases firearms? I can see a gun range doing it, but only for use at the range. I can't see a law-abiding business that leases firearms for people to take home; that's a liability nightmare right there even if it is legal.)

Of course, this has nothing to do with stemming crime. It's a measure aimed squarely at making it cost more for the law-abiding citizen to exercise his Second Amendment rights. But the guy can't be honest about that, because that's a surefire way to ensure he loses the election.

* * *

WORM on unions. Couldn't agree more.

* * *

Another DOOM post at Ace of Spades. More economic doom and gloom for your reading pleasure. (Or, wait--"pleasure" really isn't the word. Oh, you know what I mean.)

* * *

And there is plenty of economic doom and gloom to go around, too. Say goodbye to Borders; they're closing all their stores.

That's about 11,000 newly unemployed people, right there. Shit.

How's that Obamanomics working out for you?

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